There is a lot of hype about Mobile-first Index. Does this trend make your approach to mobile interface design different? Or do you know much about the behavior of your mobile app users? There are a plethora of mobile design stereotypes. As an agency with the strong skills in UI and UX design, Syndicode decided to refute some myths about mobile interface design.
Design matters! In most cases, when you create an application, a design should be the first thing you care about. Because wireframes and mockups can give your programmers a better idea for the functionalities you want built-in. But all about the importance of the design and its place in the development roadmap you can read in our article about mobile app development. Today we’d like to tell you more about mobile design myths you shouldn’t believe.
Mobile users are always in a hurry
The prevailing wisdom about mobile users is that they’re always in a rush. This idea has deep roots and might even have a piece of truth. But this is not a full picture. Furthermore, one-size-fits-all statements don’t make much sense in an increasingly niche-audience Internet.
You have to get to know your users to make some statements about their behavior. We wrote about the necessity of the user research in our previous materials.
There’s no question that mobile speed is key, and Google’s AMP project serves as a strong reminder of the importance of website-loading time. What’s less discussed is that you’ll never know which (if any) of stereotypes apply to your website unless you get to know your target audience.
Each website’s audience behaves differently and that you need to understand your unique audience. Then, optimize accordingly.
There are 3 ways that will help you to better understand your audience:
1. Define the goals of your app or website.
2. Find out your target audience.
3. Test your ideas.
That is how you can tell are your mobile users in a hurry or not. This fact will influence your design largely.
Mobile websites require fewer features
This stereotype reflects the past situation with the mobile internet. In the beginning, it was so slow that people couldn’t much explore something. Back then, it made sense to design mobile websites far pared-down tasks, offering the bare minimum.
Today situation is different. As far as nowadays many people use their smartphones as their primary means to connect to the Internet, you have to prioritize and maximize mobile capabilities. When someone visits a website on their mobile device, they expect to see everything that the desktop version offers. How can you do that?
- take the advantage of mobile sensors’ superpowers, something that desktops don’t have;
- add more content and features to a mobile website (depending on your user’s goals);
- build your website or blog to adapt to the particular needs of each device type.
The idea is to get rid of the thought that a smaller screen indicates less intent among users to explore. Instead of eliminating features on mobile, prioritize them.
Simplicity is good, complexity is bad
It is hard not to agree with this statement. This myth states that mobile applications should be the “light version” of a desktop website. This comes from the principle that the organic interface has to be as close to zero as possible.
Designers tend to treat mobile and desktop as two different creatures, with opposing needs. Sometimes it makes sense because there are significant limitations to a mobile device’s capabilities (screen size, for example). However, the intent of a user doesn’t drastically change, whether they’re using their mobile device or a desktop computer. That’s why, basically, a mobile interface shouldn’t be simpler.
Mobile users don’t want a dumbed-down version of a website anymore. People simply need complexity presented in a way that’s uncomplicated. It all boils down to giving a good user experience. Consider the following:
- Have one big idea per screen.
- Instead of sending elements to secondary pages, you could put more content under properly labeled display elements.
- Requiring more taps on a screen isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The idea is to make the website’s screen clear and easily digestible. If a click has a goal to it, it can stay.
Complexity is not bad for the mobile design. Just make the design of your website or app enticing and user-friendly.
Guidelines cannot be broken
Guidelines made of some outstanding examples from famous companies (Apple or Google, for example) often taken as a rule. But what to do if your design is different? If it conflicts with the guideline? Well, a guideline is intended to serve as a loose guide or as helpful suggestions, not a strict mandate to obey.
If your intended design contrasts with conventional guidelines, that is an indicator for you to rethink your layout approach or whether you’re simply designing with your unique users’ needs and intentions in mind. Google even ignored its own material design guidelines to make these icons:
Take best from guidelines, but design with your users in mind.
The designer can think like user
Often, designers fall into the trap of thinking like their client or thinking of themselves when approaching design. But they can’t think like users. Simply because they know too much about their design. That’s why they might lose the sight of who they’re designing for.
In most cases, user’s experience is different from yours and you need to look at design from the perspective of your visitors. So let users decide! To find out how they achieve different tasks and react to different user flows you should provide user testing. As a result, you will receive the complete map of your user’s behavior: feedback on accessibility, speed, UX, navigation, readability, the overall score and so on.
To conclude we’d like to remind you that each stereotype is based on something could have happened before. But it doesn’t mean you can take it as a rule. Explore your project and make sure you know your audience. By this, you will become able to create really good mobile interface design.
If you don’t know what to start from, Syndicode can do this for you. Don’t hesitate and drop us a line if you have any questions.